55 MollyGreen.com | Spring on the Homestead | Spring 2017
fun, eating medieval style foods, and reading Pilgrim’s Progress
together. Before embarking on the educational adventure of a
lifetime, it is crucial to reach a unified decision.
A complete education includes the three Rs, and so does making well thought-out decisions on the matter!
Respect. Every decision you make as a couple should start
here. Give each other time to share thoughts, feelings, reservations, and concerns about your individual opinions. Don’t
interrupt or argue. This is not the time to plead your case, but
rather an opportunity to listen to your spouse’s heart and grow
in your understanding. It is dangerous to make assumptions
based on what you think you know about someone’s motives.
Maybe you do know your spouse better than anyone else in the
world, but even you can’t read his/her mind.
Research. Spend time together researching homeschooling.
Talk to homeschool families who can share their stories with
you. Seeing their successes and hearing how they have weathered the rocky patches can give a sense of the reality versus
the idealized picture you may be carrying in your head. Go to
a convention if possible and listen to speaker sessions geared
toward new homeschool families. Read books and look online
at local homeschool laws. Then, go beyond the “how” and look
at the “why.” Every homeschooler has individual, personal reasons. For some, it allows freedom to travel or pursue a special
talent such as becoming an Olympian or playing an instrument
with excellence. For others, it’s all about the academics and
achieving beyond the limitations inherent in a classroom environment designed to keep everyone on the same page. Many
families see homeschooling as a faith-based lifestyle that allows
them to raise their children according to their personal beliefs.
Examine your own motivations and look at your goals for your
children. Then decide if and how home education aligns with
Reach a Decision. This is the hardest part, and there is no
formula that will lead you to the right one. After you have had
an opportunity to share your viewpoints and you have done
the data-gathering, it’s time to put it all together. Having pen
and paper to organize thoughts is helpful toward organizing
information so that the discussion doesn’t become a repeating
loop. An old-fashioned pros/cons list helps tremendously. If a
decision eludes you at the end of this exercise, attempt to reach
a compromise. For example, perhaps in John and Emma’s case,
Emma could offer to try homeschooling on a trial basis of one
year with the understanding that if John doesn’t feel that their
child has learned and grown in keeping with reasonable expectations, next year they will re-evaluate.
Sometimes the opposition comes from concerned grandparents or other relatives. The difference here is that their approval
is not needed for educational choices, even though their support
is certainly helpful. Time and seeing results are frequently the
only things that will quell the fears of anxious family members
who don’t understand the motivations behind homeschooling.
Rejection of traditional school can feel particularly personal
to grandparents who sent their children outside the home
for classes. A family member once asked me on Thanksgiving
whether I thought I knew everything to be able to teach my
children all the way through high school. Dealing with unsup-portive extended family requires its own set of three Rs!
• Recognize that they don’t know everything that you know
about homeschooling. Many questions like this come from a
place of genuine confusion with regard to how this particular
method differs from a classroom.
• Resist the urge to become defensive when questioned, even
if the tone seems negative.
• Remain positive and answer questions as clearly and briefly
Homeschooling carries unparalleled benefits in terms of family
bonding, character development, and a superior academic
experience. Even though it has grown from a fringe movement
to a mainstream option with many credible studies lauding the
competitive SAT scores and positive effects on our children’s
ability to function as productive members of society, not everyone feels comfortable with a non-traditional approach to their
child’s education. In cases where parents disagree, they must
ultimately stand on the common ground of providing the best
education possible for their children and demonstrating unity
and love in whatever choice they make.
Sharon Duncan lives in the foothills of the Blue
Ridge Mountains with her husband, Tony, two sons
who are now college guys, and her last homeschooler,
a daughter. She is a homeschool veteran of fourteen
years as well as a registered nurse who works week-
ends and loves to read, write, sew, and travel. Visit her at http://